Seasonal Reflection:  Ordinary Time II, Fall 2018

Reflecting on Peace
Do you have a favorite season? I admit mine is Spring, but Fall might be second on my list. I think most of us prefer the more moderate temperatures to frigid cold in Winter or oppressive heat in Summer. And both Spring and Fall offer the beauty of color, whether the greens of new leaves and the pinks, yellows, and purples of blossoming flowers or the gold, reds, and oranges of changing leaves. Both seasons also offer a flurry of activities that can be invigorating, if not exhausting, in contrast to the slower paces of Winter with its long hours of darkness and potentially slippery surfaces and of Summer with its hazy, hot, and humid climate that makes moving fast both unhealthy and unwise.

OK, maybe your favorite season actually is Winter or Summer, but do you have a favorite liturgical season? Do any of us? We’re still in Ordinary Time. Could that be a favorite, or do we immediately jump to Christmas or Easter? And how much does our favorite liturgical season relate to our favorite meteorological season? If we connected the two, I’d bet most of us would actually favor Ordinary Time, but I bet most of us have never thought of Ordinary Time in that way. Why not?

As I noted in my previous reflection, the USCCB has described Ordinary Time as “a time for growth and maturation, a time in which the mystery of Christ is called to penetrate ever more deeply … until all things are finally caught up in Christ.” Wow! Sounds pretty appealing to me.

 

While we remain in Ordinary Time, let’s take advantage of all it offers us in opportunities to grow and mature in our faith. During this Ordinary Time we move through special secular and religious holidays and holy days galore. There are UN Peace Day, the UN Day for the Total Elimination of Nuclear Weapons, and UN Day in recognition of its founding Charter. There are Election Day, Armistice Day, and Thanksgiving. We Catholics celebrate a kind of triduum of Halloween (All Hallows Eve), All Saints Day, and All Souls Day, preceded by the Nativity of Mary and the Feast of St. Francis of Assisi, among many others. Our Jewish sisters and brothers celebrate their High Holy Days, along with several “minor” holy days. Hindus celebrate Diwali, a festival of light. Other faiths may have other holy days as well.

Each and every one of these can serve as a time to grow and mature in faith. Some call us to increase our commitment to peacemaking, others to apply our Christian values in our civic duty. Thanksgiving is a time to recall all our blessings and express sincere gratitude to God who made them possible. All Saints and All Souls bring to mind our forebears who modeled Christ-like behavior for us. We can honor St. Francis, the Patron of Ecology, by caring for God’s creation, and recognizing other religious holidays and the people who celebrate them is a wonderful way to learn and build invaluable relationships with those who are children of the same God.

Maybe it’s time to recognize just how special Ordinary Time is. Maybe it’s time to consider whether that might just be our favorite time of the year.


 

Prayer to Christ in the World

 

Lord Jesus, 
let us realize that every action of ours
no matter how small or how secular
enables us to be in touch with you.  
Let our interest lie in created things - 
but only in absolute dependence
upon your presence in them.  
Let us pursue you and you alone
through the reality of created things.  
Let this be our prayer - 
to become closer to you 
by becoming more human.

Let us become a tree branch on the vine 
that is you, 
a branch that bears much fruit.  
Let us accept you in our lives 
in the way it pleases you to come into them: 
as Truth, to be spoken, 
as Life, to be lived, 
as Love, to be followed, 
as Joy, to be given: 
as Peace, to be spread about: 
as Sacrifice, to be offered; 
among our relatives and friends, 
among our neighbors and all people.

Source: the New Saint Joseph People's Prayer Book, Catholic Book Publishing Co. New York 1999
http://www.stagnescathedral.org/Prayers/Ordinary%20Time.html

 



Suggested Actions

This Fall season, take advantage of the cooler weather and many activities happening to grow in at least one way that you feel will increase and mature your faith. You may want to focus on peacemaking or care for the environment. You may want to focus on gratitude or understanding of those who are different from you. Whatever you choose, find a way to engage in it. Here are some possibilities:

  • - Join a peace march or vigil. Subscribe to PCMNY’s e-mail Action Alert Network to learn when and where they may be happening.

  • - Read Laudato Si’, Pope Francis’s encyclical “On Care for Our Common Home,” and then adopt one practice to protect the environment, whether it’s prayer, petition, or hands-on work.

  • - End each day by reflecting on the good things that happened to you that day and tell God thanks. Tell any people involved thank you, too.


- Participate in an interfaith event. Again, PCMNY’s Action Alert network may help you find some, as will following us on Facebook and following Interfaith New York and the Interfaith Center of New York (two distinct Facebook pages).

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Reflection Archives

2018:  Summer  Easter  Lent  Ordinary Time  2017:  Christmas  Advent
   Summer   Easter   Lent   Ordinary Time     2016:  Christmas   Advent 

 

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